There are mothers with full-time jobs who go hungry in order to feed their kids.
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SEIU

It can be easy to forget that real people lie at the center of every movement.

From the fight for religious freedom to the ongoing struggles for racial, gender, and socioeconomic equality, these movements are carried by regular people: mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, and friends who are working every day to make their voices heard.

The Fight for $15 is no different. It's about people fighting to survive.

Take, for instance, Adriana, a mother who has worked at McDonald's for five years.



Adriana's take-home pay for one two-week, full-time pay period was $508.38.

And like all of us, she has bills to pay.

She pays $100 per week in childcare for her son. Heat and water cost her $300 per month, and her rent is $500. With expenses for just those necessities already exceeding more than twice what she brought home for that two-week pay period — how is she supposed to pay for groceries? Emergency medical care? Internet so that her son can get his homework done? It's almost impossible.

What are workers supposed to do when they're working 40+ hours per week, doing necessary jobs, only to find that they're unable to make ends meet?

The minimum wage in the U.S. varies state by state; as of May 2016, it ranges from $7.25 to $10.50 per hour (with D.C. set to bump up to $11.50 on July 1). While some states do have slight increases scheduled years away, the sad reality is that with cost of living on the rise, it's still not enough to be a livable wage. So what does that mean?

There are veterans with full-time jobs who can't afford food.

There are parents who can only feed their kids if they themselves don't eat.

Or who give up everything so that their kids don't have to.

The people fighting for $15 work hard. They make multibillion-dollar corporations those billions of dollars.

Now, they're just asking to be compensated for it and for the freedom to form a union so they can get a seat at the table with the corporate CEOs who make so many decisions that affect their lives. They're fighting for their families and better pay so they can put money back into their neighborhoods. So they can strengthen and boost their local economy.

There's a long way to go, but the tides are turning.

New York and California have agreed to the $15 minimum wage. Thousands of workers in Pennsylvania are seeing their wages increase to $15 an hour. And the more these stories are heard, the stronger the voices of the thousands of people who are fighting for nothing more than the ability to survive can become.

If enough people stand behind them and share their stories, corporations will have no choice but to listen.

Courtesy of Tiffany Obi
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With the COVID-19 pandemic upending her community, Brooklyn-based singer Tiffany Obi turned to healing those who had lost loved ones the way she knew best — through music.

Obi quickly ran into one glaring issue as she began performing solo at memorials. Many of the venues where she performed didn't have the proper equipment for her to play a recorded song to accompany her singing. Often called on to perform the day before a service, Obi couldn't find any pianists to play with her on such short notice.

As she looked at the empty piano at a recent performance, Obi's had a revelation.

"Music just makes everything better," Obi said. "If there was an app to bring musicians together on short notice, we could bring so much joy to the people at those memorials."

Using the coding skills she gained at Pursuit — a rigorous, four-year intensive program that trains adults from underserved backgrounds and no prior experience in programming — Obi turned this market gap into the very first app she created.

She worked alongside four other Pursuit Fellows to build In Tune, an app that connects musicians in close proximity to foster opportunities for collaboration.

When she learned about and applied to Pursuit, Obi was eager to be a part of Pursuit's vision to empower their Fellows to build successful careers in tech. Pursuit's Fellows are representative of the community they want to build: 50% women, 70% Black or Latinx, 40% immigrant, 60% non-Bachelor's degree holders, and more than 50% are public assistance recipients.

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via Amelia J / Twitter

Election Day is a special occasion where Americans of all walks of life come together to collectively make important decisions about the country's future. Although we do it together as a community, it's usually a pretty formal affair.

People tend to stand quietly in line, clutching their voter guides. Politics can be a touchy subject, so most usually stand in line like they're waiting to have their number called at the DMV.

However, a group of voters in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania received a lot of love on social media on Sunday for bringing a newfound sense of joy to the voting process.

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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
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Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

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Former President George W. Bush and current president Donald Trump may both be Republicans but they have contrasting views when it comes to immigration.

Trump has been one of the most anti-immigrant presidents of recent memory. His Administration separated undocumented families at the border, placed bans on travelers from majority-Muslim countries, and he's proudly proclaimed, "Our country is full."

George W. Bush's legacy on immigration is a bit more nuanced. He ended catch-and-release and called for heightened security at the U.S.-Mexico border, but he also championed an immigration bill that created a guest worker program and a pathway to citizenship for undocumented people.

Unfortunately, that bill did not pass.

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Ah, the awkward joy of school picture day. Most of us had to endure the unnatural positioning, the bright light shining in our face, and the oddly ethereal backgrounds that mark the annual ritual. Some of us even have painfully humorous memories to go along with our photos.

While entertaining school picture day stories are common, one mom's tale of her daughter's not-picture-perfect school photo is winning people's hearts for a funny—but also inspiring—reason.

Jenny Albers of A Beautifully Burdened Life shared a photo of her daughter on her Facebook page, which shows her looking just off camera with a very serious look on her face. No smile. Not even a twinkle in her eye. Her teacher was apologetic and reassured Albers that she could retake the photo, but Albers took one look and said no way.

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